Russian president praises Gorbachev’s role in history
MOSCOW – Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday praised the historical role of former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev in a message congratulating Gorbachev on his 75th birthday.Gorbachev, who ended the Cold War and launched democratic reforms that broke the repressive Soviet regime, celebrated his birthday Thursday evening at a Moscow restaurant.”You belong to the category of politicians who had an effect on modern world history,” Putin said in a statement released by his office.”Your name is associated with the switch to a policy of openness in the international sphere. And of course, the changes that enabled our country to make a decisive step toward democratic reforms,” Putin said.While praised worldwide, Gorbachev has been reviled at home, where a majority of Russians hold him responsible for the Soviet breakup and subsequent economic chaos that impoverished millions. He won 1 percent of the vote in a 1996 presidential election.Vail, Colorado
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